2015-01-21

The OpenStack Elections - Another Look

The Board of directors and the bylaws were approved. Summary posts can be found here (2015 Individual Director Election results) and here (Bylaws amendments approved).

Individual Directors

  • Tim Bell
  • Russell Bryant
  • Alex Freedland
  • Rob Hirschfeld
  • Vishvananda Ishaya
  • Kavit Munshi
  • Egle Sigler
  • Monty Taylor

The voting numbers can be found here.

Congratulations to all the new and re-elected board members. Well deserved!

I have a few things I would like to add about the data that was presented – and my thoughts.

1. Tim Bell 

Tim received the highest number of votes. CERN is a huge OpenStack user and was showcased at the summit in Paris. He is one of only 3 the board members that are not officially affiliated with a vendor directly involved in OpenStack. I see this as a big vote of confidence by the members of the foundation – that are interested in seeing more representation from non-affiliated members. Something I personally would like to see as well.

2. Participation Numbers

2015-01-21_04-22-06

Only just over 16% of the members voted in the election. That to me seems to be very low. and I would like to address the OpenStack community to ask why this is so? This is actually something the Board and Foundation should also be actively looking into as well (perhaps they already are).

  • Is it because people are not interested in participating?
  • Is it because the importance of the process was not made clear enough?
  • People did not find the candidates suitable?

More people actually voted for the amendment changes that in the election itself – which I find quite strange. They were already on the page and did not bother to vote for any of the candidates.

3. Operators were not chosen

Neither Jesse Proudman and Randy Bias were voted in – both seemed to me that they were very vocal in their campaign as to why they wanted to get on the board – and that was to bring a change into the way OpenStack is currently “run”. I do personally think this is pity – because I would have liked to see more representation from the Operator standpoint, something which I still feel is still lacking in the OpenStack community.

4. Participation in Amendment changes

2015-01-21_04-30-49

The quorum was achieved – but only by 315 votes. My previous post The OpenStack Foundation – 2015 Individual Director Election – spoke about how I see this change as a problematic one. I personally do not think that the quorum would have been reached – if it was not for the “aggressive” marketing campaign that the Foundation embarked upon in order to reach this quorum. Without the countless number of posts from Board members, Foundation members (myself included) and anyone that cared about this election - on their blogs, social media and everywhere that was possible. Jonathan Bryce even promised to remove his beard to achieve this goal..

And he did!

A huge effort indeed, from the foundation and the community at large – but my question is..

How long will it be until it is needed again?

Yes the quorum needed is now officially only 10% (instead of 25%) but I do foresee the day that even that will not be reached (and that will not be too far in the future). That is why I think the change should have been to remove the quorum all together.

5. People were not happy with the change in the quorum

On both the first two amendments, the approval rate was 93-95% – almost everyone agreed. Changing the quorum – only had 80% of the people that approved. Of course that is still a majority and perfectly valid and acceptable as a decision, but still it is interesting to see that more people were not happy with the change.

It would be interesting to know if it was the lowering of the percentage to 10% or was it that the proposed change should have been to remove the quorum altogether. I personally voted against this change because I think that the quorum should be removed completely and not lowered to 10%.

I am very pleased that the changes were made – because it allows OpenStack to continue to grow, but I do think that planning should start now – for when the changes made in these amendments will not suffice and need to be changed again.

If you are willing to share - I would be interested in hearing your thoughts about the points above. Please feel free to leave them in the comments below.

2015-01-15

The OpenStack Foundation – 2015 Individual Director Election

Well I am happy to say that the election is underway and I have already voted.

Kenneth Hui had an interesting post about how OpenStack Is A Social Contract and how people in the OpenStack community should be rushing to vote.

I had a few thoughts about the change of quorum that is proposed.

  • Current bylaws: A majority of the Individual Members voting (but only if at least 25% of the Individual Members vote at an annual or special meeting). This 25% threshold was selected rather arbitrarily at the time the bylaws were drafted and did not anticipate the number of Individual Members which have joined the Foundation. The 2014 election for Individual Directors had participation of less than 15% of the Individual Members.
  • Revised bylaws: A majority of the Individual Members voting (but only if at least 10% of the Individual Members vote at an annual or special meeting).

Elections are never easy, but it is the only way to get the opinion of the public and your constituents. OpenStack as a community is no different.

I have seen a growing number of posts or tweets about requesting people to cast their vote. There is a concern in the air (at least that is my personal feeling) that a quorum will not be met. This will have a number of implications on the changes in the bylaws, which could be a problematic for the future growth of the community. I am not going to go into the subject of, if I am in favor of the changes or not – we are all entitled to our own opinions.

Accepting results if only a minimum of 10% of the members of the community participate.

(I would like to clarify – that results of a vote are valid – even if the number of participants are low).

According to Stefano Maffulli’s post – the people who can vote are those who are “active members of the OpenStack Foundation”.  The number of people who vote for the TC elections – is going down. The bylaws define “active members” is defined as a member who has participated in one of the last two board elections.

The number of people who have joined the OpenStack foundation has grown so large that it will be very difficult to achieve a quorum going forward.

If you are interested in participating OpenStack, take the time and make the effort to sign up, then you should also make an effort to exercise your right and vote.

I am just worried about the decreasing numbers and what that says about the community. If the OpenStack community accepts or expects that only having 10% of people will participate in elections and vote on important issues then What does that say about the OpenStack community as a whole?

Why is quorum needed? Who is to say that 10% is acceptable? Why not 15%? Why not 20%? Or for that matter – why not 2%? Who says that 10% is a quorum?

Take a national election for example. What would happen that if for the parliament or president – you needed a quorum? That does not happen. It cannot happen. An election is a democratic process, where each eligible is asked to participate. If they choose not to – then that is their right – but you cannot nullify the whole election – when not enough people vote.3915495980_442822d7ae_z

I think that a quorum is the number of people who vote. There should be no minimum.

This does not change the fact that today this has to be changed – because the bylaws today state a number of 25%.

It just seems strange to me.

Lowering the threshold – the question is how low do you go? Instead of having to go through this again in the future – it better to remove that obstacle now than have to beg for people to vote in order to achieve a quorum.

Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.